Oh Natural Blog
A lot of passion is involved when it comes to finding and connecting with our lovely brand ambassadors. Authenticity is crucial, an interesting story helps share diversity (and hey, a little charm goes a long way too!), but - most importantly - we love opening our arms to those who have a deep respect and understanding of what it means to be your best and healthiest self. One such individual is the lovely Manuela Incediario, who we sat down to get to know a little better. Want to read her bio? You'll find it here.
NN: What is your health philosophy?
M: I believe in investing time into building a better "me". I fill my life with yoga, meditation and a clean vegan plant-based diet. With a better mind, body and soul approach, I feel that I can achieve all my health goals. I find that I'm a lot more focused on my cycling and yoga when practicing my daily morning routine properly. It boosts my energy and productivity levels for the day.
NN: Give us three words to describe yourself.
M: Passionate, vegan and empathetic.
NN: What is your favourite food?
M: I absolutely love Buddha bowls - wholesome bowls of plant proteins, vegetables, grains and varying dressings. In essence, it's an overstuffed bowl resembling the belly of Buddha - according to Urban dictionary!
NN: And your favourite Nature’s Nutrition variant? (We had to ask!)
M: I absolutely love the Superfoods Blend + Protein in Natural Vanilla as its profile is filled with Spirulina, beetroot, mushrooms, plant-protein and probiotics - just up any vegan's alley ;)
NN: What is your favourite way to enjoy Nature’s Nutrition?
M: I enjoy making smoothies or, on the weekends, smoothie bowls topped with lots of fresh fruits, chia seeds and nuts. Yum!
NN: Describe a day in the life of Manuela.
M: I wake up at 4am, have a cup of green tea with mint, fresh lemon, cinnamon, cayenne pepper and apple cider vinegar for a bit of a morning oomph. I follow that with stretching and yoga, increasing the chi and flow of energy, followed by a 10-15 minute meditation.
From 5am-10am, I train clients at the Virgin Active in Bryanston.
I then work in my permanent makeup studio, Flawless Cosmetics, from 10.30am onwards, doing all forms of permanent makeup, eyelash extensions, micro-blading, nano hair stroke brows and the like.
Then from 3pm or 4pm I'm back at the gym for my evening clients.
7pm is dinner, followed by admin and online training programmes and diets for my clients.
No minutes are every left unused in my day :)
NN: Wow! That's what you call a productive day. Any words to live by?
M: Some popular ones - Carpe Diem – Seize the day!
I also believe in practicing living in the present. My favorite book is 'The Power of Now' by Eckhart Tolle!
Thank you for the opportunity to be interviewed... I'm loving Nature's Nutrition!
At the age of 51 years, I was totally devastated when I was diagnosed with Stage 4 Cancer in March 2018 and informed that there is no chance of being in remission. Stage 4 Cancer - a large tumor in my lower colon that spread to my lymph nodes above and below the diaphragm.
In April 2018, my sister and I travelled to Tygerberg Hospital with a referral letter and CT staging report to seek URGENT treatment. I arrived in a wheelchair on high doses of morphine syrup, I had dropped weight, was nauseous, shaking and in a lot of pain.
1 week later, I was admitted immediately. The doctors ran numerous tests to confirm the primary site - a PET scan was performed and all was revealed. I felt numb and really did not show much emotion. I received 5 days of intense radiation and have completed 3 weeks of chemo over a period of time since September 2018.
Well-meaning friends, family, and friends of friends all start telling you what to eat and what not to eat. I approached a dear friend to assist me in finding a product that I could take to feed my body nutritionally and fight this dreaded disease.
Nature's Nutrition Super Greens & Reds was highly recommended.
Upon collection of this product, I knew I was now on the right track for optimal nutrition and healing.
Nature's Nutrition has 50 organic superfoods, dairy-free probiotics, and includes wheatgrass, alfalfa, spirulina, kale, beetroot, berries, barley grass, aloe, pomegranate, apple pectin, flaxseed and mushroom.
It is impossible for us to consume the recommended daily allowances of fruit and veggies, never mind that it's not easy to locate organic markets and good quality fresh produce. Having Stage 4 Cancer, the healing remedy for myself is keeping my body in an alkaline state. That's what Nature's Nutrition Superfoods do for me. Cancer cannot survive in an alkaline pH. The cancer cells cannot grow and multiply.
Since taking in two servings of Nature's Nutrition daily, my pH levels become and remain alkaline. I am no longer in a wheelchair or using my walker to move around each day. I strongly believe that Nature's Nutrition is going to play a huge role in me becoming CANCER-FREE.
My favourite flavour is Raw Vanilla, and I cannot go one day without My Super Greens & Reds.
This amazing product should be in every household for adults and children, as our daily routines - personal and business - are becoming more and more stressful. Through my daily experience using the Super Greens & Reds, I believe this amazing product will lead me into remission.
I believe that Super Greens & Reds can prevent cancer from occurring in your bodies and give you optimum health by boosting your immunity.
So my journey continues. I will be updating my Facebook Page during my stay at Inkosi Albert Luthuli Hospital. And I'll be taking my 50 Organic Superfoods with me!
Your life is special and very important; look after your and your children's health.
- 13th December, 2018
Thank you, Luanne, for sharing your personal journey with us. We're rooting for you.
Most of the body’s immunity cells - 60-80 percent, in fact - exist in the digestive system. It's no surprise, then, that a lot of the body’s health and appearance depends on what’s going on in the gut. We have both good and bad live bacteria in the digestive tract and it's the job of the good bacteria (probiotics) to keep the baddies in check. Without enough good bacteria, the body falls prey to infections and inflammation, so keeping up this balance is essential for maintaining good health.
Some specific ways probiotics help the body include:
- Helping restore the composition of the gut microbiome
- Improving nutrient absorption
- Healing digestive issues
- Supporting overall brain health
- Helping fight certain allergic conditions, skin problems and infections
- Hydrating the skin, building collagen and strengthening the skin's barrier function
- Promoting thicker, shinier hair and strong, clear nails
- While probiotics can be found in certain foods, it’s difficult to get enough from diet alone. Supplementing with probiotics is a great preventative health measure, helping to keep your microbiome in balance, your immune system healthy and warding off illness. The health benefits - and safety - of a probiotic depend largely on the strain. Nature's Nutrition products include LactoSpore®, which is safe and well-tolerated by healthy individuals when ingested orally.
We chose LactoSpore® because:
- It maintains viability during preparation and storage (no easy feat, given that this is live bacteria we're talking about)
- It survives its journey down the digestive tract, into the intestine (where many probiotics may be broken down before they reach their destination)
- It settles in the digestive tract and produces enough lactic acid and other antagonistic substances to inhibit the growth of bad bacteria
- Do you think you're getting enough probiotics from diet alone? A probiotic supplement could help bolster your health.
Nature's Nutrition superfoods consist of 10 medicinal mushrooms. By definition, medicinal mushrooms are the macroscopic fungi used in extracts or powder form for the prevention, alleviation or healing of diseases, as well as for nutritional support.
Mushrooms have been an essential ingredient in Chinese and Japanese medicine for centuries, thanks largely to the fact that most of the world's mushrooms are sourced in China. They are used to boost immunity and to help keep infections at bay. Their antimicrobial properties are one reason they have been used for centuries especially in traditional Chinese and Japanese medicines. Formally speaking (jargon ahead), mushrooms contain biologically active compounds - ß-Glucans - that optimise immune function, increase resistance to infections and protect against cancer.
Medicinal mushrooms also contain:
- Amino acids
- Selenium (a powerful antioxidant)
- B vitamins (including folate)
- Prebiotics (which support the formation of healthy probiotic bacteria)
- ....They're virtually free of sugar too.
Here are the 10 medicinal mushrooms you'll find in our superfoods:
- Turkey Tail
- Lion’s Mane
- Cordyceps Sinensis
- Zhu Ling
It's tempting, but the truth is that our kids (and fussy adults!) need and benefit from variety. If we want to stay as healthy as we can, we need to eat a rainbow.
Nature spoiled us with a huge selection of different flavours, textures and colours so that our meals could stay infinitely interesting - and beneficial. Each colour in fruits and vegetables is caused by specific phytonutrients: natural chemicals that help protect plants from germs, bugs, the sun’s harmful rays, and other threats. That protection and those benefits extend to us too. Eating a diversity of colourful foods can be an easy way to get a complete range of the vitamins and minerals our bodies need to thrive.
We know it's not the easiest feat to introduce broad diversity into every meal, every day, and that's exactly why we squeezed all those nutrients we need into one simple powder that can be stirred into just about every juice, smoothie and even water.
Here's why you need every one of those gorgeous colours, and what each one offers:
Red & Pink
Fruits include: red apples, cherries, cranberries, red grapes, guava, red pear, red plum, pomegranate, raspberries, strawberries, watermelon
Veggies include: red sweet peppers, red chillies, red kidney beans, radishes and tomatoes
Contains: Vitamin C, potassium, carotenoids, lycopene, anthocyanins, quercetin, flavonoids
Fruits include: apricots, mangos, oranges, orange nectarines, papaya, pawpaw, peach, persimmons
Veggies include: carrots, orange sweet peppers, orange lentils, pumpkin, sweet potato
Contains: Vitamin C, potassium, carotenoids, flavonoids, liminoids, terpenes
Fruits include: yellow apples, banana, gooseberries, grapefruit, lemons, yellow pears, pineapple, yellow plums, quince, star fruit
Veggies include: yellow patty pans, yellow sweet peppers, sweetcorn, yellow tomatoes, yellow zucchini
Contains: Vitamin C, potassium, carotenoids (such as vitamin A, lutein and zeaxanthin), flavonoids, terpenes, quercetin
Health benefits: All of the above boast hugely beneficial properties when it comes to keeping your eyes, skin and immune system healthy. They may help protect against cancer and heart disease too.
Fruits include: green apples, avocado, green fig, green grapes, honeydew melon, kiwi fruit, lime, green pears
Veggies include: asparagus, green beans, fresh broad beans, bok choy, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, Chinese cabbage, green peppers, celery, cucumber, artichokes, green herbs, green kale, leeks, lettuce, green olives, peas (green peas, snow peas, sugar snap peas), silverbeet, spinach, spring onion, green zucchini
Contains: Vitamins C, K and folate, calcium, potassium, iron, carotenoids (such as vitamin A, lutein and zeaxanthin), flavonoids, indoles, saponins, sulforaphane
Health benefits: Like their different coloured compadres, greens also keep eyes, skin and immunity boosted, and may help protect against cancer and heart disease. In addition to those though, greens also supply iron and folate to help make red blood cells. Calcium and vitamin K help keep bones healthy.
Blue, Purple & Black
Fruits include: blueberries, blackberries, blackcurrants, purple figs, purple grapes, mulberries, passionfruit, purple plums, prunes
Veggies include: aubergine, beetroot, purple cabbage, purple or black peppers, purple carrot, purple kale, black olives, purple onion
Contains: Vitamin C, anthocyanins, chlorogenic acid, quercetin
Health benefits: These dark and lovely colours protect cells from damage and protect against heart disease and cancer. They've been linked with improved memory function and healthy ageing too.
Fruits include: white nectarine, white peaches, lychees, white currants
Veggies include: cauliflower, celeriac, Japanese radish (daikon radish), fennel bulbs, garlic, leeks, white onion, parsnip, shallots, turnips, water chestnuts, white beans (cannellini, lima beans, navy beans, soybeans)
Contains: Starch and protein, B group vitamins, potassium, indoles, isothiocyanates, anthoxanthins
Fruits include: brown pear, dried raisins or sultanas, dates, dried fig
Veggies include: Borlotti beans, brown lentils, Jerusalem artichoke, mushroom, potatoes
Contains: Starch and protein, B group vitamins, potassium, indoles, isothiocyanates, anthoxanthins
Health benefits: These supply protein for growth, energy for an active body and will help protect against cancer.
So, the next question was: How do we create this perfect all-in-one product that is nutrient-dense, easy to use, and also has a reasonable shelf-life? We soon found the answer: freeze-drying.
Freeze-drying allows us to bring you the daily superfoods you need, in a form that is:
Oh, and they're tasty too! This is no small feat for a product that is 100% plant-based.
So, what is freeze-drying?
The freeze-drying process takes frozen foods and dehydrates them under a vacuum. Here, the moisture content of the foods changes directly from a solid to a gaseous form - skipping the liquid form. Removing moisture from fresh foods prevents them from deteriorating at room temperature; this effectively prolongs their shelf life, while keeping their nutritional integrity intact.
Benefits of freeze-drying
Freeze-drying fresh foods is becoming extremely popular for good reason. Food products like meat, fruit, vegetables and instant coffee can be transformed into far more convenient forms, without losing their nutritional offerings.
Have almost no cell rupturing, maintaining their structural integrity
Maintain their colour, form, size, taste, texture and nutrient content
Are shelf-stable at room temperature, with no cold storage is needed
Reduce in weight by 70-90%, without changing in volume, making them light-weight and easy to handle
Offer the highest quality of nutrients in a dry product, versus other drying methods
Eliminate microbiological concerns (think: bacteria), thanks to low water activity
Freeze-drying fruit and veggies is especially powerful, as their low fat content prevents degradation. This helps them preserve their freshness for long stretches of time. It also allows us to use whole fruits and veggies - we didn't have to leave out nutritional peels, skins or seeds. We could have left the fresh produce in our superfoods whole - and they would have reconstituted easily in water. But we decided that a powdered form would be more convenient for - allowing you to add superfoods to water, juice, smoothies, yoghurt, oats, porridge and, well, anything else you'd like.
There are two broad categories of sweeteners, namely nutritive and non-nutritive. Nutritive sweeteners include honey, agave, molasses and sugar and contribute calories to your daily intake. They also flood the system with glucose, increasing insulin in the blood. This has the potential to increase weight and risk for obesity, increase unhealthy cholesterol (triglycerides), along with free radicals and inflammatory markers. It goes without saying that this needs to be avoided if you want to lead a healthy life. So, we turn to non-nutritive sweeteners that don’t spike our blood sugar or add unwanted calories, right? Well, the answer is not actually that easy.
Non-nutritive sweeteners – as the name implies – do not contain calories and therefore do not contribute to energy consumption. This seems better than sugar; however, it is not so simple. That’s because all non-nutritive sweeteners are not created equally, and still have a handful of cons alongside their obvious pros. Let us explain…
Five non-nutritive sweeteners
Five non-nutritive artificial sweeteners have been approved by the FDA:
The FDA has also approved stevia. While it isn’t non-nutritive, so to speak, it is a low-calorie sweetener that (most appealingly) is also natural, meaning that it hasn’t been man-made like the others.
Acesulfame-K is a combination of organic acid and potassium. It is 200 times sweeter than sugar. Whoa!
Aspartame and neotame are made up of amino acids (phenylalanine and aspartic acid) and are 160 to a whopping 13,000 times sweeter than sugar.
Saccharin is a combination of other sweeteners and is not metabolised by the body; that means it’s excreted without being absorbed. There was a health concern in the 70s when the sweetener was linked to tumours in rats; however, no link was drawn in humans and the product’s approval was reinstated.
Sucralose is 600 times sweeter than sugar and (like the above-mentioned sweeteners) is not absorbed by the body. It was approved in 1999 as a general-purpose sweetener.
A natural alternative
You might have heard of stevia, one of the most popular natural non-nutritive sweeteners out there. Surprisingly, the actual name “stevia” refers to an extract from the leaves of a South American plant called the Stevia Rebaudiana Bertoni. This extract is sold as a dietary supplement. However, what we think of and refer to as stevia is actually: stevia glycoside, which has been purified, unlike the whole stevia leaf extract. It is 200-300 times sweeter than sugar and was approved for use in 2008. It's also what we choose to use in our superfoods (in small amounts) to make them tasty.
Sweeteners and safety
Now let’s talk about the safety of non-nutritive sweeteners. They were given the name “GRAS” (generally regarded as safe) in relatively small quantities, but it’s difficult to quantify this amount given the scarcity of relevant research findings. What do we know? Firstly, excessive amounts could result in gastric discomfort, but we are not sure of the long-term effects of this intake. Secondly, opting for sweeteners may give individuals a false perspective on their calorie-intake, encouraging overeating. Sweeteners could also exacerbate an individual’s sweet tooth, causing an increased intake of sugary foods. As if that’s not enough, the Multi-ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis linked daily consumption of sweetened beverages to an increase in metabolic syndrome and diabetes – not ideal!
Our take-home message
… It’s pretty simple. Until we fully understand their effects on the body, it is recommended to avoid nutritive sweeteners (sugars) completely and to limit non-nutritive sweeteners to the more natural options in very small quantities. Like most things, sweeteners should not detract from a nutritious well balanced diet and healthy lifestyle.
- Help build bones, muscles, cartilage, skin and blood
- Repair our body tissue
- Make enzymes, hormones and other body chemicals we need
- Generally support detoxification, digestion and a healthy immune system
Protein powders are one of the most convenient ways to manage our protein intake, and they’re fast absorbing as well. This makes it easy to replenish our muscles after a workout, which is why you’ll see most gym bunnies sipping on a shake after their gym sessions.
Whey and soy protein powders have been around for years, and for a while now we’ve seen another variety creeping into mainstream use. Enter pea protein.
So, what’s so great about the humble pea when it comes to boosting our protein intake?
Here are a few reasons we’re such fans of pea protein, and why you’ll find it in some of our superfoods variants (Check them out here).
It’s a weight-management tool
Protein in general is an awesome way to help stabilise blood sugar, and provide nutrients while still keeping your total food volume down. Pea protein specifically can help to regulate your appetite, increase satiety and even help reduce sugar cravings.
You get a portion of veggies with your protein
Since we’re all about sneaking more veggies into the modern day diet, we especially love this point. More and more, research is singing the praises of following a more plant-based diet. Incorporating more plant-based foods into your lifestyle is cost-effective, low risk, and promotes lower blood pressure, cholesterol and your general risk of chronic disease – particularly heart disease. Using pea protein means you up that veggie quota with every scoop – and it’s such a convenient, versatile way to eat more greens as well.
Fast-absorbing protein is most useful after exercise, when blood flow to our muscles is high and they’re extra receptive to nutrients. This timing is also important to promote the rebuilding of natural muscle tears that happen after strength workouts. Pea protein is also high in BCAA’s – branched chain amino acids. These babies help reduce fatigue, accelerate recovery, reduce muscle soreness, and improve the use of fat for energy (um, yes please!).
Pea protein is dairy-free
Dairy-free protein is ultra-convenient for those with specific dietary needs. If you’re lactose intolerant, this is an excellent alternative to whey, and pea protein in general wins the title of most hypoallergenic protein powder.
If you are fully committed to a plant-based life (no animal products or by-products), we know how tricky it can be to reach your protein quota. Pea protein gets another big tick here for offering the same benefits of typical whey protein powders – versatile, convenient, fast-absorbing – with zero animal products or by-products.
*A note on choosing your pea protein:
Not all pea proteins are equal in their offerings. Lower quality powders may cut their products with non-nutritional fillers, sweeteners and unhealthy additives. Like all packaged goods, you need to be the label police, scanning the ingredients list for unwanted extras. With Nature’s Nutrition, however, you’ll find nothing but natural products straight from the source. Our pea protein contains zero unhealthy or synthetic additives, colourants or preservatives, and is sweetened with stevia – a natural plant-based sweetener.
Do you use pea protein? How do you most love to use this versatile powder? Don’t forget to check out our Nature’s Nutrition Superfoods Drink Mix with Plant Protein.